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1933STORY

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  • winterfury@webtv.net
    Aug 4 9:04 AM
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      The Raccoon and the Bee-Tree
      Native American Lore
      The Raccoon had been asleep all day in the snug hollow of a tree. The
      dusk was coming on when he awoke, stretched himself once or twice, and
      jumping down from the top of the tall, dead stump in which he made his
      home, set out to look for his supper.
      In the midst of the woods there was a lake, and all along the lake shore
      there rang out the alarm cries of the water people as the Raccoon came
      nearer and nearer.
      First the Swan gave a scream of warning. The Crane repeated the cry, and
      from the very middle of the lake the Loon, swimming low, took it up and
      echoed it back over the still water.
      The Raccoon sped merrily on, and finding no unwary bird that he could
      seize he picked up a few mussel-shells from the beach, cracked them
      neatly and ate the sweet meat.
      A little further on, as he was leaping hither and thither through the
      long, tangled meadow grass, he landed with all four feet on a family of
      Skunks---father, mother and twelve little ones, who were curled up sound
      asleep in a oft bed of broken dry grass.
      "Huh!" exclaimed the father Skunk. "What do you mean by this, eh?" And
      he stood looking at him defiantly.
      "Oh, excuse me, excuse me," begged the Raccoon. "I am very sorry. I did
      not mean to do it! I was just running along and I did not see you at
      all."
      "Better be careful where you step next time," grumbled the Skunk, and
      the Raccoon was glad to hurry on.
      Running up a tall tree he came upon two red Squirrels in one nest, but
      before he could get his paws upon one of them they were scolding angrily
      from the topmost branch.
      "Come down, friends!" called the Raccoon. "What are you doing up there?
      Why, I wouldn't harm you for anything!"
      "Ugh, you can't fool us," chattered the Squirrels, and the Raccoon went
      on.
      Deep in the woods, at last, he found a great hollow tree which attracted
      him by a peculiar sweet smell. He sniffed and sniffed, and went round
      and round till he saw something trickling down a narrow crevice. He
      tasted it and it was deliciously sweet.
      He ran up the tree and down again, and at last found an opening into
      which he could thrust his paw. He brought it out covered with honey!
      Now the Raccoon was happy. He ate and scooped, and scooped and ate the
      golden, trickling honey with both forepaws till his pretty, pointed face
      was daubed all over.
      Suddenly he tried to get a paw into his ear. Something hurt him terribly
      just then, and the next minute his sensitive nose was frightfully stung.
      He rubbed his face with both sticky paws. The sharp stings came thicker
      and faster, and he wildly clawed the air. At last he forgot to hold on
      to the branch any longer, and with a screech he tumbled to the ground.
      There he rolled and rolled on the dead leaves till he was covered with
      leaves from head to foot, for they stuck to his fine, sticky fur, and
      most of all they covered his eyes and his striped face. Mad with fright
      and pain he dashed through the forest calling to some one of his own
      kind to come to his aid.
      The moon was now bright, and many of the woods people were abroad. A
      second Raccoon heard the call and went to meet it. But when he saw a
      frightful object plastered with dry leaves racing madly toward him he
      turned and ran for his life, for he did not know what this thing might
      be.
      The Raccoon who had been stealing the honey ran after him as fast as he
      could, hoping to overtake and beg the other to help him get rid of his
      leaves.
      So they ran and they ran out of the woods on to the shining white beach
      around the lake. Here a Fox met them, but after one look at the queer
      object which was chasing the frightened Raccoon he too turned and ran at
      his best speed.
      Presently a young Bear came loping out of the wood and sat up on his
      haunches to see them go by. But when he got a good look at the Raccoon
      who was plastered with dead leaves, he scrambled up a tree to be out of
      the way.
      By this time the poor Raccoon was so frantic that he scarcely knew what
      he was doing. He ran up the tree after the Bear and got hold of his
      tail.
      "Woo, woo!" snarled the Bear, and the accoon let go. He was tired out
      and dreadfully ashamed. He did now what he ought to have done at the
      very first---he jumped into the lake and washed off most of the leaves.
      Then he got back to his hollow tree and curled himself up and licked and
      licked his soft fur till he had licked himself clean, and then he went
      to sleep.

      || From Native Lore Index ||
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